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deciding between GF1 and E-PL1

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by Rudi, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. Rudi

    Rudi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 16, 2010
    Hi everyone,

    I am having a really hard time deciding between the Panasonic GF1 and the Olympus E-PL1. Let me tell you my story: I am a long-time photographer using mainly Canon DSLR gear, but also have a Panasonic LX3 which I love. So I was initially drawn to the GF1, because the menus and ergonomics are quite similar. But then Olympus had to bring out the E-PL1 and with it - a dilemma! :smile:

    I like the build and looks of the GF1, but don't hate the Oly. I like the high-res LCD of the GF1, and dislike the max shutter of only 1/2000 on the Oly. I like the IBIS on the E-PL1. See my problem? Why couldn't they put all the good stuff into the one camera body?

    Long story short, I think I can live with the Oly, especially since this will not be my main camera system, this will be mainly for fun and the occasional fine-art image (I seem to do some of my best work with my P&S! :rolleyes:  ). But before I decide, I thought I would ask you kind people a big favour:

    Would I be able to get my hands on a RAW file out of each camera? And maybe (and this could be pushing my luck) a short video? I want to make sure my system plays nicely with the files coming out of each of these cameras. I don't care if you just snap a pic of your letterbox, or your little toe, it's not the image that I am interested in, it's the file, to see how well it plays with my computer and post-processing techniques. If you can help me out, please reply here to let me know where I can download these, or email them to me if you like.

    Many thanks in advance!
  2. flipGTO

    flipGTO Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 8, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Have you held both cameras in hand yet? I recently bought an E-PL1 for my ladyfriend and it works for her, but it feels cheap to me after using the GF1 for so long.
    Also, I wouldn't mind sending you a video and RAW file, but I doubt the video file can be transferred over email. I will tell you that the GF1's video is a lot better quality than the E-PL1, but I haven't used the latter's video capability much. I do think its neat that you can use the art filters on the videos.
  3. Grant

    Grant Mu-43 Veteran

    Be very careful of this thought as both these cameras are very good and they may end up being your primary camera.

    I have a GF1 that I bought as an occasional P/S to back up my Nikons. While it hasn't supplanted my Nikons I do use the GF1 far more than I would have ever imagined. Both the GF1 and the E-PL1 are very sophisticated cameras and in the hands of a good photographer they are quantum leaps above a P/S camera.

    I did a lot of research in the pros and cons of the Olympus over the Panasonic and in the end realized both would fit the bill. For me the deciding factor was the Panasonic fit my hand better than the Olympus. So my advice is go to a camera store and play with both, see which fits your hand!
    • Like Like x 1
  4. john

    john New to Mu-43

    Aug 15, 2010
    EPL-1 and GF-1 Deciding Between

    I own both and they are each nice. But, the GF-1 in my opinion is better made in terms of construction. It is a more durable camera. The screen on the EPL-1, seems more prone to the possibility of damage, to me at least. And the contruction of the EPL-1 seems more platic in nature, still a nice camera though. The Gf-1 also has better/ more easy to use controls, in my opinion. Easy to adjust exposure compensation. The best thing about the EPL-1 is the collapsable lens. The EPL-1 also adjusts stability within the camera, while the GF-1 expects the lens to do this. So I use the EPL-1 more with lenses that don't have stabilization built-in. In low light, when using a prime, the EPL-1 may have the advantage. At least if you are me. However, having shot both, for awhile, I think if I had to choose only one, I would pick the GF-1. Also, the Panasonic lenses have metal mounts, and the OLY, (I have only one of those) is all plastic, or seems so to me. I like them both, I wish Panasonic made a nice collapsing lens to go with it. In any event you will want the EVF for either camera. I am very glad to have both of those. One thing to consider with either one is sound. The GF-1 does not have an external jack, the EPL-1, I am not sure, have not looked, but you can check that out. I have not shot much video since it is still pics I am most interested in. Just an aside, to me at least, the Oly people do a better marketing job than Pana for these kinds of cameras, I think Pana should study that a bit more, IMHO. I have found though that with the m-4/3 you can carry quite a few nice lenses around and don't need a pack mule. For video though you may want to think of the HD lenses from Pana, I believe the focusing function on them may be more attuned to video needs, if I recall correctly what I read. I hope this provides some help.

  5. six4

    six4 New to Mu-43

    Aug 14, 2010
    I've owned both and in the end, kept the GF1, sold the E-PL1

    From my other post:

  6. antithetic

    antithetic Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 7, 2010
    City of Angels
    E-PL1 RAW and Video Files

    Here are two sample files, image and video, taken with my E-PL1 and the Panny 45-200mm.

    ORF RAW (11.18 MB)
    AVI Video (16 sec) (66.33MB)

    The RAW file was taken over the weekend and the video was taken on a trip early last month.

    I do have one request in that if you can get the RAW and video files to look any better, please share your techniques with all of us here. Hope this helps in your decision!
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Rudi

    Rudi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 16, 2010
    MUCH appreciated, thanks! :thumbup:

    To be honest, video is not important to me, so don't expect me to be a whiz at editing/post processing it. I've had a video-capable DSLR for several months now, haven't even tried whether it works yet. :biggrin: But I figured I might as well ask now, before buying into yet another camera system...
  8. crcal

    crcal Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 21, 2010
    Honolulu, HI
    Thanks. I posted it in the wrong thread (because I had both of them open at the same time.) I edited it a little and posted it in the "Its been asked a million times, GF1 or E-P2!?" thread.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. ccunningham

    ccunningham Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 23, 2010
    I have both and...

    Well, not exactly, I have an E-P1 and a GF1. Frankly it would be difficult for me to pick one or the other after using them both. The comment about combining the best of both is really true, since there are exclusive features in each line.

    Control wise, each has something slightly better than the other. There are ways that I think the Olympus approach is handier, and in other ways I think the GF1 approach is handier.

    Focus speed wise, if I'm using the 17mm or the 20mm lenses, I can't see any difference. There may be some difference, but it really doesn't seem any different on the two cameras I have. The kit zooms are different. The Olympus kit zoom focuses slower, but it's also collapsible, which is great for shaving a little more volume from the package. The pen also focuses with lenses that the GF1 doesn't, like the 35mm f3.5 macro FT mount lens, which is a decent but inexpensive macro lens. True, it can be slow, but it does still work.

    IBIS on the pen is really great. Primes like the 17mm and 20mm are stabilized. As far as I know even adapted lenses are stabilized, but I don't have firsthand experience with adapted lenses (yet) so I'm going on what other people are saying. If this is true, it's pretty nice.

    Jpegs are pretty good from both, if you decide you don't want to spend more time in front of a computer. I hate spending lots of time fooling around on the computer if I don't have to. The film mode functionality is pretty neat on the GF1, the jpegs don't have alot of noise, but I can see some slight color shift in some areas where there is a fairly even color even at ISO 400. The pen seems to show noise a bit more at 800 and above, but it's good-looking noise, if there is such a thing. Most of the chroma noise is gone, but there may be more luminance noise left. Much to my surprise, it looks alot like 35mm film grain, and I don't find it objectionable most of the time, even up ISO 1600 for most shots.

    Build wise, the GF1 does feel a bit different (denser maybe?) than the E-P1, but neither one feels flimsy. It's more of a case where they both feel well made, just a little different.

    One of my biggest complaints about the E-P1 is that they didn't make it in a black finish until the E-P2, only chrome and white on the E-P1. And while the chrome is brushed and matted, it is still pretty shine-ificent. I toned mine down with an add-on skin, and now I feel a little less shiny, thank you very much.

    To be honest, I would be happy with either one, but lucky for me, it hasn't come down to having to pick one over the other yet.
  10. Rudi

    Rudi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 16, 2010
    Thanks everyone! I really appreciate your input.

    To be honest, I love the way the GF1 feels in the hand, but I haven't had the chance to handle the E-PL1 yet. On paper, the E-PL1 seems to be the better choice overall (IBIS would be nice to have), especially since this will in no way ever replace my DSLR kit, this will add to it.

    So it all depends on how the E-PL1 feels in the hand at this stage. Hopefully I will find that out tomorrow. Maybe then I will be able to come to a decision! :smile:

    Please keep your replies coming, I really appreciate all your help.
  11. everythingsablur

    everythingsablur Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 4, 2010
    Toronto, ON
    I actually found the E-PL1 felt great in hand. It's really quite well built, plastic shell and all. Where the E-PL1 failed in my hands-on experience was in the controls. To each their own, and I'm sure for many they are great and I could even live with them, but they weren't something I found really drew me to the camera. The screen is also a let down IMO, though the EVF is great, that's an added cost and low value if you aren't using it all the time.

    If you're just trying this out in a store, bring a memory card and take a good 20-30 minutes around the store (more if they'll let you, or even escort you outside) to get a feel for actually using the camera and not just holding it.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. flipGTO

    flipGTO Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 8, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    I might be weird for saying this, but I don't like the way the shutter button feels on the E-PL1. But the E-PL1 can trigger flashes wirelessly (fl36r, fl50r, metz 48, metz 58) and the GF1 can not for some reason.
  13. Rudi

    Rudi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 16, 2010
    Yeah, I plan to actually use it, to see how the controls work. The one big no-no that I already see as a problem is the On/Off button so close to the shutter button! I dislike On/Off buttons, even on compacts, and actually love the sliding switch that Panasonic have put on my LX3 (thanks, Panasonic! :smile:) , and on the GF1. Simple, impossible to trip accidentally while trying to take a photo, I don't know why more manufacturers don't use them as well. :confused: 

    That said, the LX3 is the only Panasonic camera that I own, and only because it was the best compact at the time (still love it). Generally I am not a fan of things Panasonic, but they got the LX3 and the GF1 right! (Except for the lack of IBIS on the GF1, but that is another story. :smile: ). What's more is that I have ever only owned two Olympus cameras in my life, an OM-1 35mm SLR and a μ2 compact, back in the film days, and both were outstanding cameras! Outstanding! The OM-1 viewfinder was the best optical viewfinder that I have ever used! So... I am wondering if the Olympus doesn't have some sort of hidden treasure trove... maybe I will fall in love with it as much as I did with the OM-1 and the μ2, back in the day...

    The E-PL1 is the cheaper option too, and that might not be a bad idea with Photokina coming up. If Olympus or Panasonic (or someone else) bring out some you-beaut newfangled body that I just have to have, I haven't wasted too much money on what would become my second/backup MFT body. :biggrin:

    Speaking of the μ2... what I wouldn't give for a compact with a full frame 35mm sensor in it! :cloud-9-039:
  14. twalker294

    twalker294 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 18, 2010
    Darn you people! :wink: I had made up my mind on the E-PL1 and now you've got me looking at the GF1 again. The comments on the video quality are what grabbed me because I would like for whichever camera I buy to replace my HD camcorder as well.

    The IBIS and price are the two things that had me sold on the PL1 (IBIS more than the price really.) Time to do more research :frown:
  15. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I chose the E-PL1 over the GF1 because of the IBIS and higher quality EVF. These were musts as I intended to shoot mostly with vintage adapted manual lenses. The EVF on the GF1 was really disappointing since I was coming from a G1.

    For those interested in video, the E-PL1 has a 2GB video file limit (MPEG). I don't recall how long of a recording time that translates to but it is still a limit. IIRC the hacked GF1 can record longer in AVCHD (someone please correct if wrong). I hear there are other little issues with the hacked firmware... so research. If video was my #1 priority, I"d probably go with the GH1.
  16. twalker294

    twalker294 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 18, 2010
    Thanks usayit. That's the problem though -- it's not my #1 priority but I will definitely be using it a bit. I just have to decide how important it is. Decisions, decisions.... :smile:
  17. everythingsablur

    everythingsablur Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 4, 2010
    Toronto, ON
    A stock GF1 can record to the capacity of the SD card using AVCHD. the hack isn't necessary. The hack is good for increasing the bit rates of both the MJPEG and AVCHD recording modes, thus increasing quality, as well as changing numerous other factors. There's still no solution to the file size limit of using MJPEG as the 2 GB limit is pretty much a format issue.
  18. hmpws

    hmpws Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 24, 2010
    Auckland, New Zealand
    As someone who has owned both, I liked my experience with the GF-1 more. I am still waiting to use the VF-2 on E-PL1 though (the order has been delayed for about 3 weeks now).

    I came to the above conclusion because 1) AF is just a tad faster on GF-1 (especially with AF assist), 2) shutter lag increases with IBIS turned on (not mentioned often and not scientifically proven) => therefore combining 1) & 2) meant that GF-1 was just "snappier". So overall, IBIS didn't improve my photo taking abilities at my friend's house parties..

    If you don't need to do that though, ergonomics on the E-PL1 feels better especially with longer lenses, which can only be improved once I get the VF-2 (right?). I haven't used longer micro4/3 lenses, but I imagine if you use them and heavier legacy glasses, E-PL1 would probably come out better overall. IBIS is a nice bonus for slow/non moving objects.

    P.S. Video on the GF-1 was very nice, but I haven't gotten into film making yet. Cosmetically, I also liked the build and look of the GF-1 more.
    • Like Like x 2
  19. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Me next

    I just went through that same choice. I decided to go with the EPL-1. I realize that I'm going to be in the minority but I find the build quality and the feel of the EPL-1 to be quite good. For me the deciding factor was IBIS as I like to shoot with legacy MF lenses.
  20. riveredger

    riveredger Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 30, 2010
    Northern NJ
    I'm with you. It feels like a well built camera, especially when compared with entry level dSLRs from the big two. Of course, it won't feel as solid as a metal body camera, but that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.
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